Welcome social security changes for single mother families

In the lead-up to the Federal Budget, SSRV threw our weight behind a campaign by the Council of Single Mothers and Their Children (CSMC) calling on the Government to raise the cut-off age for Parenting Payment Single.

At the time, Parenting Payment Single ended once the youngest child turned eight, leaving many recipients relying upon JobSeeker Payment at a significantly lower rate.

Single mother families are the poorest family structure in Australia, with more than a third living in poverty.

The CSMC petition called on people to urge the Government to help to change the lives of thousands of Australians in the May 2023 budget by ending the ParentsNext program and keeping parents on Parenting Payment Single while their children are in school.

It worked. The Federal Government has now announced two significant changes to social security as it relates to single parents.

The cutoff age to qualify for Parenting Payment Single has been raised from when the youngest child turns eight, to when they turn 14 years old.

The lift is set to take effect from September 20, 2023.

Parents receiving the payment will receive a base rate of $922.10 per fortnight, amounting to a $176.90 increase for people currently on JobSeeker Payment who will become eligible for Parenting Payment when the changes take effect.

The decision came just days after another win for single mothers, when the government announced it will end the controversial ParentsNext program from 1 July 2024.

The scheme, introduced in 2018, required parenting payment recipients to attend job agencies and participate in prescribed activities in order to keep their welfare payments.

The program was continually criticised by community and welfare organisations and also faced criticism from the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Women’s Equality Taskforce, and the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee.

“Single parents carry the world on their backs,” said Prime Minister Albanese about the changes. “They sacrifice so much to give their children a better life. This is about giving them the greater security and better support they deserve.”

SSRV would like to thank all our friends and colleagues who signed the petition or shared their personal stories with the Prime Minister.

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